Transport and Traffic matters were again dominated this year by the WestConnex project, the $16.8 billion road and tunnel tollway which is now being built and which is the subject of fierce community opposition particularly in the inner west of Sydney. WestConnex will have an adverse impact on Glebe and Forest Lodge as a result of the additional traffic shunted onto Victoria Rd, the Anzac Bridge and Parramatta Rd.Arising from the construction of the planned road tunnels and road interchanges residences in Glebe and Forest Lodge might be requisitioned, and the parks around the Glebe foreshore degraded, particularly during the construction phase.
Public meeting were held during the year throughout the inner west to express community opposition to WestConnex, including a community meeting organised by the Coalition of Glebe Groups (COGG) and the Greens in the Glebe Town Hall on 20 June which was attended by over 200 Glebe and Forest Lodge residents.
To support the community campaign against WestConnex, the Glebe Society donated $1000 to the umbrella opposition group ‘No WestConnex – Public Transport’ to be applied in engaging and retaining staff to coordinate the opposition campaign. The Glebe Society also supported the formation of a locally focussed group organised by COGG ‘No WestConnex Glebe/Forest Lodge’ which is aimed at raising local community awareness to the project and organising local opposition.
In October last year the NSW Department of Planning and Environment released Environmental Impact Statements for the M4 East part of the project, involving road tunnels running from Homebush Bay Drive in the west to Wattle St Haberfield in the east. The Glebe Society lodged a submission to the EIS, objecting to the WestConnex project and its adverse impact on the environment and on the local communities affected, and stating that a more effective strategy for dealing with Sydney’s transport needs would be to invest in public transport. A similar submission was lodged by the Glebe Society regarding the EIS released by the Department in November last year for the M5 section of the project, involving road tunnels between Beverly Hills and St Peters and a road interchange adjacent to Sydney Park. The Department received a flood of submissions (some 12,900) to this EIS, overwhelmingly in opposition to it.
The Sydney Motorway Corporation which is responsible for building WestConnex has released images of the planned infrastructure for the Glebe and Forest Lodge section of the project, including road tunnels running east from Haberfield under Annandale, looping south under the Rozelle Goods Yards and running beneath the western edge of Federal and Jubilee Parks in Glebe. Road interchanges are planned to be centred on the Rozelle Goods Yards and on Parramatta Road in Camperdown. WestConnex has begun geotechnical drilling around these sites. The exact location of the tunnels and of the interchanges is not yet known.
The Glebe Society was also involved in opposing a series of changes proposed by IPART to the fares structure for NSW public transport, including a suggested increase of the daily fares for seniors from the current $2.50 a day maximum to $9 a day maximum. A submission opposing these changes was lodged with IPART by the Glebe Society in February. The final IPART report to the State Government has recommended some increase in these fares but only to a maximum of $3.60, $3.80 and $4.00 progressively over the next 3 years.